The Mall At Steamtown: A Look At Fairgrounds Square Mall

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BERKS COUNTY---The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton is on the verge of foreclosure, according to mall officials.

It is something the former owner of Fairgrounds Square Mall knows something about.

Last year, the mall in Muhlenburg Township, just outside Reading, was sold at auction for $13.6 million.

The mall owner owed tens of millions on the property.

At the time of the sale, officials promised it would be for the best, making the mall better in the long run.

"They're closing a lot of stores so a lot of business is going. It's kind of sad. I used to go there a lot with my mom," said Angela Peck of Antietam.

Some said that sale and the promise to make this mall better have not worked.

We spoke with Muhlenburg Township manager, Steve Landes, who told Newswatch 16 local officials are "...very concerned" about the future of the mall. He said, since the sale, the empty stores inside have remained empty and other businesses have left.

Despite his best efforts, Landes said officials with the bank that purchased the mall have not spoken with anyone about their plans for the future.

"They didn't really, like, build any new stores, instead, they just keep closing, so," said Robin Iwanowski of Exeter.

Just like the Mall at Steamtown, Fairgrounds Square Mall has Boscov's as an anchor store.

It is a similar size, and like Steamtown, folks said Fairgrounds Square Mall has seen much better days.

"I went to Walmart, and I'm telling you, there were 800 to 1,000 cars on the lot, and here you see this and a couple up front. There's nobody in the store and they're down on the help, too," said a man from Kutztown.

Some people said, no matter what, they do not think there is a good future for Fairgrounds Square Mall or the Mall at Steamtown because they said shopping malls just are not that popular anymore.

"I don't know if any malls can do anything to get a little boost, anything special. A mall is a mall. In the old days, you went to the mall to visit your friends, you went to see a movie once in a while, but there's no reason to go shopping anymore," said Mike Fesh of West Reading.


  • Jacko

    My two cents. I grew up in Scranton. The Mall at Steamtown never really had any stores that interested me. There have always been thugs blocking the front entrance. The Mall did nothing at all to get rid of them. No security. They stand there, make their drugs deals, pimp their hookers, harass people in and out of the store, and again, the puny security guards at The Mall do nothing. The parking garage is dark, damp and dirty. I don’t think I ever saw anyone with a broom nor was there ever any attempt to keep it clean that I could see. The food court really never had any national chains that were any good at all. There was always two chinese places (right next to each other) screaming at you to try some free deep fried dogmeat. No thanks. There was a great salad place for a while but he left town once he figured out that people don’t eat healthy in Scranton. And again, the stores were always second rate, third tier junk stores (BonTon included) where the merchandise was crap and the prices very high. Radio Shack (soon to go out of business) The Gap (going going gone) and stores that sell expensive over priced cheap quality clothes to rich kids’ parents (Abercrombie and Rich). Sorry, Scranton is 40 percent below poverty line, do these business giants read the newspapers? Honestly, I am surprised it lasted as long as it did. We should repeat what we did in 1992…..

  • Jon Bends

    Keep buying online and stop supporting the local business, Someday you will all be out of a job with only a few select store left. Half of the goods you buy on line you have no idea who you are supporting or if revenue is even staying in the country.

    • Mic

      Last time I checked, everything in the mall was made in China, etc. Except for SOME of the food. Buying online supports local small business. That’s how I make a living.

  • Mark

    Location, Location, Location. The local populace isn’t interested in malls anymore. Walmart and online shopping have ruined most malls because the prices are better. When stores have to pay outrageous rents they can’t compete. Malls only make sense in areas with people who have the money to spend on overpriced products.

  • john

    how can they even let this scumbag foreclose
    he has more money than god and was charging people
    like 50 grand a month for rent
    thats why nobody ever wanted to stay

  • Renee

    Malls are charging rents that are impossible for these stores to make monthly…really…could you spend $5000.00-$10,000.00 a month on rent…that is an aful lot of clothing and shoes to sell isn’t it? It’s not rocket science as to what the problems are.

  • Amanda

    I grew up in Berks County and then moved to the Scranton area. I’ve seen both malls, as a customer and employee.
    Fairgrounds has been around about as long as me. But what no one seems to mention is that the Berkshire Mall is doing fine. They have the stores that draw people. Berkshire is also at the booming end of the city where there’s a shopping mecca. If you can’t find it between Broadcasting Square and Berkshire, you probably don’t want it or need it.
    There’s no room to have that kind of boon near Steamtown. It could be a great place but there’s no real draw outside of the trains. The area Fairgrounds is in is similar. No real room to grow or develop new stores to attract new people.
    Now what about The Viewmont Mall? Last I knew there were some major developments coming into the area bringing the level of traffic up but I moved back home a few years ago. I would assume the shopping area is still expanding.
    Steamtown is contained and even though there’s good parking with the attached garage, there’s not a whole lot to draw you around the mall until Parade Day.

  • Matthew Flynn

    It’s sad to hear about this mall or any mall might get closed ever. My first time ever being at the steamtown mall was on March 1, 2014 from 1-3 PM for the The free show they had there and I thought that mall was very nice inside it looks a lot nicer then the Lehigh valley mall that is more near me in the Schnecksville, Pa area but I hope that mall and all others malls will do better or even get better soon and not have to close ever and would keep having the free show still. It will be a shame if a mall like the steamtown mall were to ever close at all.

  • Cats

    Where I’m from, malls are still places you meet or friends, grab a bite, shop. Problem is , there are no stores people will shop at here. Nothing draws traffic.

    • anonymous

      I agree. The Mall at Steamtown in no way reflects malls in general. The nice ones I have visited are very busy due to wide selection of stores, cleanliness and very few or no “undesirables” blocking the main entrance.

  • angie

    Where’s the new anchor store that was supposed to replace Bon Ton?dud whoever they were back out? And what chain was it supposed to be?

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.